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PVC Floating Accent Light 


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PVC Floating Accent Light 

Written By: Larry Cotton 


Combination square (1) 

Drill and drill bits (1) 

File or high-speed rotary tool (1) 
such as Dremel 

Hot glue gun (1) 

Jigsaw (1) 

for cutting plywood 

Marking compass (1) 

Measuring tape (1) 


for cutting plastic pipe. Handheld saws 
will work, but we recommend a band 
saw or a table saw with a miter gauge 
and a fine- toothed blade. 

Screwdriver (1) 


• PVC piped) 

• Switch (1) 
Lowe's #71393 

• Plywood (1) 

• Threaded nipple (1) 
Lowe's #46816 

• Socket (1) 
Lowe's #70826 

• Wire nut (1) 

• Lamp cord (1) 

• Lamp bulb (1) 

• Acrylic rod (1) 

for the feet. You can also use a tilt wand 
for Venetian blinds. 

• Cyanoacrylate glue (1) 

aka super glue or crazy glue 

• Spray paint (1) 

various colors. If you're using primer, 
you can use most any paint. To skip the 
primer, use Krylon Fusion or Rust- 

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PVC Floating Accent Light 

Oleum Paint for Plastic: they're 
formulated to bond directly to plastic. 

Spray automotive primer (1) 
Rust- Oleum or equivalent 

Automotive body filler putty and/or 

automotive glaze (1) 

such as Bondo filler or DuPont 315 glaze 

Sandpaper (1) 

Masking tape (1) 

Hot glue and/or epoxy (1) 


By Larry Cotton and Phil Bowie 

Humble PVC drain pipe is cheap, widely available, easy to work with, and almost endlessly 
useful for making everything from patio furniture to elegant sculptures. 

This lamp adds a romantic glow to any room. Designed to provide good airflow around the 
bulb, it seems to float magically on a soft ring of light around its base. 

The Floating Accent Lamp is part of a series of four family-friendly projects that use 3"- or 
4"-ID (inside diameter) PVC pipe. In a weekend you can easily make all four: an accent lamp 
that seems to float on light, a two-faced clock to help you remember friends in another time 
zone, a kids' table with a dry-erase top and matching stool, and a hanging planter . 

You can make them with handheld tools, but bench tools such as a band saw or table saw 
with a fine-toothed blade work best for making square and accurate cuts. PVC also bends 
easily when heated in boiling water, which opens up all kinds of new shapes and design 

If cutting pipe from a 10' length, ask a friend to help support it. Use a face mask and ear 
protection for cutting and sanding. 

Fill any dings with automotive body filler and/or glaze. Then sand the pipe parts with 180-grit 
sandpaper, prime, and paint. If you want to skip the primer, there are new spray paints that 

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PVC Floating Accent Light 
adhere directly to plastic 

Lamp Housing 

Bulb Support 

WARNING: PVC pipe tends to roll while cutting on a table saw, so hold it firmly and 
cut slowly. Gripper gloves help. For cutting off sections on a table saw, set the 
blade just slightly higher than the pipe wall thickness. Don't use a ruler or tape to set blade 
height; instead, make trial cuts in a scrap of wood and measure the cuts. Always wear eye 
protection when using power saws. 

Cut and drill the bulb support from V2" plywood, following the diagram. 

One 45°-angled cut in the 4" PVC easily allows you to make 2 lamp housings if you wish. 
Drill the hole in back to fit your switch, 2" from the pipe bottom. Thoroughly sand the angle 
and the bottom surfaces. 

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PVC Floating Accent Light 

• Thread the nipple through the bulb 
support, add the socket, and wire 
up the switch. Ensure that all 
electrical connections are tight and 

• Screw in a 40W (maximum) frosted 
or CFL bulb and test. 

• Mask the inside of the PVC 
housing, then sand and paint the 
outside a bright color. 

• Reverse the masking and paint the 
elliptical rim, the bottom rim, and 
the inside white. 

• Mount the switch, and then hot-glue 
the bulb support assembly into the 
lamp about 1" from the bottom. 

Important: Make sure the 
bulb is centered in the pipe. / 


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PVC Floating Accent Light 

Super-glue at least six W-diameter, 1 1 /2"-long clear feet inside the bottom rim. We used 
acrylic rod. Sand the mating surfaces thoroughly before gluing. Notch a scrap of wood and 
use it as a jig to ensure that the feet protrude the same amount. 

For more PVC creations, check out these projects! 

PVC Kids' Table and StoolPVC Two-Faced ClockPVC Plant Holder 

This project first appeared in MAKE Volume 30 , page 96. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -01 08:21 :59 PM. 

© Make Projects 

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